Residents of Oxford Street in the south-west of Rockhampton have woken up this week to find a pair of pink flamingos wearing sailor hats cuddling at the end of their street.
The street’s sign has been transformed with the two brightly coloured birds ahead of this year’s Mardi Gras parade on the Sydney street of the same name, in a bid to spread the event’s inclusive spirit to different parts of the country.
The makeover, located on the corner of Oxford and Talford Streets in Allenstown, is an initiative by Mardi Gras sponsor ANZ in the lead up to this year’s parade on March 2.
ANZ said they’ve transformed seven Oxford Streets around Australia into the queer-themed works of art “to let people know that no matter how far from Oxford Street Sydney you are, we’re supporting you as we strive for an #equalfuture for everyone.”
The other Oxford Street artworks around the country include a rainbow Hills Hoist clothesline in Western Australia, a rainbow-maned unicorn “coming out” in Victoria, a Cupid’s arrow through a heart in Tasmania and a shiny drag stiletto in South Australia.
And at Bondi Beach in Sydney, a giant “Signs of Love” signpost has also been installed pointing to Australia’s other 122 Oxford Streets around the country.
On Thursday, ANZ released new YouGov research that found 84% of the LGBTIQ+ people surveyed believe there are still parts of Australia where it is unsafe for them to be open about who they are, and 60% of non-LGBTIQ+ respondents also agreed.
The research also found LGBTIQ+ community members are still twice as likely to experience some form of harassment, discrimination or open prejudice because of their sexuality, and 52% of LGBTIQ+ people are not open about their sexual orientation with their manager at work.
“Being open about your whole identity is something that all Australians should be comfortable doing, and yet our research shows that this is not the case,” Mark Hand, ANZ’s Group Executive Australia, said.
“At ANZ we believe that the same pride and inclusion experienced at the nation’s largest LGBTIQ+ celebration on Oxford St in Sydney, belongs on all streets and in all communities.”
See the other Oxford Street art installations below:
View this post on Instagram
‘Eternal Flame’ 41 years ago, a courageous group of Australians marched for our rights as LGBTQI+ citizens for the first time. That protest evolved into the annual celebration of diversity, love and respect that we all know and love: a symbol of how far we’ve come and an expression of our pride as a community. This sign reminds us that even as we party, we never forget the reason why we gathered on Oxford St. in the first place. #equalfuture